Update: 7:06 p.m. Wednesday: Congressman John Conyers won't resign, but will announce in January that he won't seek re-election in 2018, two sources tell WDIV's Rod Meloni.
The Detroit Democrat, considered the dean of the House as its longest-serving member, is in his 26th term. He'd be 91 at the end of another term, if he had decided to go for it.
Original article, Wednesday morning:
House Democrats apparently are discussing face-saving ways for John Conyers to end a 52-year career in Washington -- delicate, private steps being danced privately.
But two congresswomen don't tiptoe cautiously. In blunt statements and social media posts, each of the relative newcomers says what others whisper: Wrap it up now, Rep. Conyers. Time to go.
The pair are Reps. Kathleen Rice of Long Island, N.Y., and Pramila Jayapal of Seattle.
Rice, in her second term, was born a month after Conyers first took his seat in January 1965. She spoke out last week, two days after BuzzFeed reported that Conyers paid a settlement of more than $27,000 to a staffer who says she was fired after rebuffing his sexual advances. A second former aide now says he also behaved improperly with her.
Jayapal, elected last November, is the first Indian-American congresswoman. The Washington state representative sits on the House Judiciary Committee with Conyers, who arrived on Capitol Hill eight months before she was born.
Here's what they say about a party colleague who has served in the same job their entire lives:
'The allegations are as credible
as they are repulsive' -- Kathleen Rice
Rep. John Conyers should resign. I've reviewed the allegations against him, and they're as credible as they are repulsive.
The women who reported this behavior suffered serious professional repercussions for doing so, which is exactly why so many victims of sexual harassment and assault decide not to step forward. If men who engage in this behavior suffered real repercussions, more victims would speak up — and maybe other men would decide to act like decent, civilized adults and not prey on women who work for and trust and admire them.
Whether it happened 40 years ago or last week, settlement or no settlement, Democrat or Republican — harassment is harassment, assault is assault. We all know credible allegations when we hear them, and the same is true of hypocrisy.
'Democrats cannot turn a blind eye
to our own' -- Pramila Jayapal
This is a watershed moment where, finally, the country seems to be waking up and realizing we need to have a zero tolerance policy toward sexual harassment. We cannot pick and choose. Democrats cannot lambaste [Donald] Trump and [Roy] Moore, and then turn a blind eye to our own who face credible charges against them.
No one ever wants to believe that someone they respect and have regarded as a champion for civil rights issues would abuse their power to harm and harass women.
On top of that, sexism colors everything. Women just aren’t generally believed. Period. Even more complicated is that sexual harassment is extremely difficult to prove in any court of law. That means that efforts to stop harassment must recognize that there will be gray areas. Women will come forward and men will deny.
The question is: What is society’s response? To truly change norms and cultures, we need to start believing women from the get-go.
Our country and these individual women have been failed by a congressional sexual harassment complaint and investigation system that silences women and leads men to believe that they can get away with this behavior. That must change.
The actions and subsequent deflections from the growing tide of sexual harassment cases in Congress not only hurt individual women, but they undermine our institution of democracy. For justice to be done in cases with substantial evidence, a simple denial is not sufficient; the relinquishment of power becomes essential.
It is not easy for me to reach this conclusion because, as a civil rights activist, I have looked up to Rep. Conyers for decades. I believe these women, I see the pattern and there is only one conclusion – Mr. Conyers must resign.